What is a “Chain Reaction” Car Accident?

When two more cars crash into each other, this is considered a multi-vehicle accident. Typically, these occur because of a chain reaction where the last driver rear ends the person in front of them, causing that driver to then be pushed into the vehicle ahead, and so on. While these accidents can be the cause of one driver’s carelessness, it doesn’t mean that every other party is innocent. And due to the nature of chain reaction car accidents, many people (both drivers and passengers) commonly sustain injuries that require medical treatment.

I was in a “chain reaction” car accident, now what should I do?

It is important that you exchange information with every driver involved in the accident, gather witness contacts, and call police so they can file a report about what happened. If you aren’t experiencing a medical emergency, then try to get photos and videos of the scene as evidence, including elements such as debris, property damages from several angles, visible injuries, skid marks from tires, etc. If you were seriously hurt, then it is in your best interest to speak with an attorney so you can seek compensation for your losses.

Before leaving the scene, be sure to get these details from every driver:

  • Their first and last name, as written on their driver’s license or another form of identification
  • The name of their insurance carrier, policy number, and phone number to contact the insurer
  • The vehicle details, such as make, model, year, color, and VIN number
  • An address and the best way to contact each driver (more than one form of contact is preferred)

How do we know who’s fault it is? 

One of the biggest challenges with chain reaction accidents is figuring out who was at-fault. Narrowing down the cause can be difficult, and each driver is likely to not admit they were responsible, as they know how much they could be held liable in damages. Depending on the circumstances, it may be reasonable to assign the first driver who hit the car ahead of them 100% liability in the collision. However, there may be other influencing factors, such as road construction, another car accident nearby, bad weather, drunk driving, distracted driver, or road rage.

How can I pursue compensation for my injuries and damages?

You must report the chain reaction accident to your insurance company the very same day, if possible. Provide them with each driver’s information, evidence, damage to your vehicle, and descriptions of your injuries. Your insurance company will then work to hold the at-fault driver responsible. Based on your level of coverage, your car damage and medical bills may be covered.

While your insurance company is supposed to advocate for your behalf in the claim, they will also be watching out for the company’s best interest and may offer you a settlement that is much too low. If your insurance doesn’t cover all of your losses, then you may need help from a car accident lawyer in Milwaukee, WI in filing a civil lawsuit against the driver responsible for compensation.

Thanks to Hickey & Turim, SC for their insight into car accident claims and “chain reaction” car accidents.